Goucher College Poll Shows Maryland Residents Divided Over Sports Betting

Sportsbook in CasinoAccording to a Goucher College poll released Monday, Maryland residents are almost evenly split down the middle when it comes to the legalization of sports betting in their state.

The Goucher College poll surveyed a total of 713 Maryland residents, by phone, and was conducted Feb. 13-18. The margin of error, of plus or minus, is 3.7 percent.

The results found that 49% of Maryland residents oppose expanding gambling that would allow sports betting to take place at racetracks, casinos or stadiums. On the other hand, 45% of Maryland residents are in favor of allowing it.

When it comes to allowing online sports betting, through the means of either placing wagers online or through an app as opposed to a physical casino sportsbook, those in favor slightly tip the scale with 47% of respondents in favor of it, compared with 43% of respondents who oppose it.

The Goucher College Poll comes during a time where Maryland lawmakers have been in serious consideration of legalizing sports betting. They have been considering uses for the tax revenue, and whether is would be best placed for the state’s K-12 education.

According to Mileah Kromer, director of the Sarah T. Hughes Field Politics Center at Goucher, it’s unsure whether respondents know that lawmakers are discussing divvying up the tax revenue for the public school’s use. What’s clear, however, is that same level of division among respondents has been seen in previous polls.

“They are divided now,” Kromer said. “But my guess is that because public education is important to people, you’d see different numbers if they made that connection.”

State Pushes Forward, Will Need Public’s Approval

While state lawmakers are working toward passing through legislation that would permit sports betting in the state, according to the law, voters get the final stamp of approval. For legislation to pass, voters will need to approve it in a ballot referendum in November for it to get the green light to actually go through.

The General Assembly is also debating whether or not they should ask voters to remove themselves from the decision process completely, that’s if Maryland expands gambling in the future. Even still, voters get the final say in whether or not they want to be apart of that decision process.

Legalized Gambling in Maryland

Currently, on-site gambling is allowed in Maryland’s six casinos: Rocky Gap Casino Report in Flinstone, Horseshoe Casino Baltimore, Hollywood Casino Perryville, Live! Casino & Hotel in Hanover, Ocean Downs in Berlin, and MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill.

According to state analysts, Maryland’s total casinos are expected to generate nearly $1.8 billion in gross gambling revenue in the 2021 fiscal year. That revenue would allot $542 million to be used on the state’s Education Trust Fund.

While the support for education in the state is high, Marylanders get immediately turned off if they feel they’re being taxed too high, and it bleeds into their decision-making process for legalized sports betting.

“There is a high level of support for education. And then you see where the rub is. Marylanders feel like they are taxed too much,” Kromer said. “When asked about more services and more taxes, you see the plurality saying keep everything the same.”

Odds Favor Maryland Sports Betting Bills to Go To Ballot in November

It’s been a slow and painful process, but it appears that sports betting is finally on the horizon for Maryland. The debate is no longer whether or not sports betting should be legalized, but rather, the debate is now in regards to when legal wagering will start and where it could take place at.

Maryland Icon

These issues could be resolved this November when sports betting is expected to be on the ballots for the public to vote on. If approved, Maryland could have legal sports betting by December 2020.

Multiple Issues to Consider

The first step in this process is for the state’s legislature to pass a bill that can be voted on. Currently, there are multiple bills to consider. Last year, a sports betting bill was presented to the General Assembly, but it never really got off the ground. A version of that bill could still be in play.

Currently, the majority of discussions have been centered on bill SB 58 which was authored by Senator Chris West. This bill isn’t as comprehensive as we’ve seen from other states, but it’s a starting point that Senator West and his constituencies hope will lead to fruitful resolutions.

Online and Mobile Sports Betting

With momentum picking up, thanks to West’s bill, there’s still multiple issues that need to be resolved. For starters, where will Maryland residents be able to wager on sports. SB 58 states that residents can only wager on sports at casinos and racetracks.

Maryland has 11 casinos and racetracks, which would be the only venues to get a sports betting license if SB 58 is passed. West believes that residents wagering at these locations will help create revenue for the venues and nearby businesses. However, he’s against online betting, which would be a huge mistake.

West believes that legalized sports betting could generate $40 to $60 million dollars in revenue each year based on the proposed 20% tax rate. Unfortunately, those numbers aren’t realistic without online and mobile betting.

This is where additional bills are expected to be drafted during the state’s session. Other legislators have seen how online sports betting has created massive numbers for neighboring states like New Jersey and Pennsylvania. It’s believed that 80% of their sports betting revenue has come from online and mobile sports wagering.

Other sports betting issues to consider:

  • Where will the tax revenue go?
  • Who will be in charge of sports betting?
  • Will it be permitted to wager on in-state schools?

Early indications are that the majority of state leaders want to see the revenue go to education funds. Maryland Lottery is the frontrunner to oversee sports betting as they’re already set up to manage such gaming activities.

Lastly, it’s a good bet that Maryland follows what other states have done and ban all wagers on in-state schools.

Sports Betting Getting a Push From Daniel Snyder

In addition to state leaders making a significant effort, Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder has also entered the picture by pushing for legalized sports betting. The billionaire owner recently met with state lawmakers to share his vision on this topic.

Snyder’s team plays in Landover, Maryland, and the owner wants to build a new stadium that will allow sports betting. This scenario would boost revenue for all parties involved and add some excitement for in-stadium fans.

If all goes according to Snyder’s vision, this in-stadium betting could spread throughout the NFL as Maryland’s other football team the Baltimore Ravens might also embrace sports betting at their stadium as well.

With a major in-state sports franchise pushing for legalization, it’s just one more factor that will help sway the general public to vote for sports betting in November.

FanDuel Ready to Operate

Last month, FanDuel entered a partnership with Cordish Companies who own Maryland Live!, which is the largest casino in the state. The partnership makes FanDuel the official sports betting operator for all of Cordish Companies’ venues both in Maryland and in nearby states like Pennsylvania where they have numerous venues.

Once Maryland officially legalizes sports betting, which won’t be until December 2020 at the earliest, the state’s largest casino will be ready to launch sports betting the first day allowed. It’s safe to say that the other five casinos will also follow suit and find sports betting partnerships sooner than later.

Casino Revenue in Maryland Falls in September

  • Casino revenue in Maryland fell last month.
  • National Harbor Casino and Rocky Gap Casino experienced revenue increase.
  • Many lawmakers are still pushing for sports betting regulation in MD.

Maryland is now home to several top casino venues. These casinos have helped to bring the state serious money over the years. Unfortunately, casino revenue in Maryland dropped last month.

Revenue Decline Image

It’s not any major cause for concern. Gambling revenue is always fluctuating around the country. Today, we’re going to look at how much casino earnings fell last month. We’ll also take a quick look at the state of Maryland’s casino industry.

Maryland’s Road to Casino Legalization

Maryland has a fascinating history of gambling regulation. Back in the 1800s, a huge number of gambling venues were operating in this state. Lawmakers began to get concerned over the growing rates of crime associated with the gambling industry, and eventually implemented a complete gambling ban.

Over the next century, the state government began taking a closer look at gambling legislation. In 1920, the state formed a Racing Board to oversee the state’s horse race gambling industry. In the 1940s, lawmakers here legalized slot machine gambling and before long, there were slots everywhere.

Slots were once again banned in 1963 and eventually, all traditional forms of gambling were banned in Maryland. In 2010, this all changed once again! Lawmakers here allowed Maryland residents to vote on casino legalization. The voters approved these casino plans and by 2012, several casino venues began operating in this state.

Casino revenue in Maryland quickly began to increase. Gambling proved to be extremely popular here and casinos helped to draw in tourists from nearby states. Unfortunately, revenue from this industry dropped last month.

Casino Revenue in Maryland Falls Short in September

On Monday, the Maryland Lottery and Gaming regulatory board released the state’s gambling revenue figures. According to this report, the state’s six casinos brought in a combined $142.2 million in September. This represents a 1.1% decline from the same month in 2018.

Slot machines brought in $93.5 million last month, not far under the norm. Table game revenue brought in just $48.7 million.

Interestingly, only two casinos in this state managed to increase their revenue in September. The National Harbor Casino, which reported a 6% revenue increase, and Rocky Gap Casino Resort, which saw its revenue grow by 3.2%. The other four casinos operating in this state saw their revenue decrease in September.

Overall, the state managed to bring in $59.2 million last month. Much of this revenue will go to keep the state’s horse racing industry up and running.

There isn’t much to be worried about. Gambling revenue here fell by just 1.1%. It’s very likely that gambling earnings will bounce back in October.

Legal Sports Betting Push Continues in Maryland

Maryland is now heavily invested in its gambling industry. The state uses its casino revenue to fund various projects. Unsurprisingly, several lawmakers here are now working to open up additional forms of gambling.

In May of 2018, the US Supreme Court struck down PASPA. Now, every state in the country can set laws on sports gambling. 19 states have begun regulating their sports betting platforms. Many more have legislation pending to open their sports betting markets.

Maryland House Bill 989 was presented in the state’s legislature in February of 2018. This bill allows for the creation of a task force to “study the implementation of sports gaming in the state.” Unfortunately, it failed to pass in the 2018 legislative session and it seems unlikely that sports betting will be made legal here in 2019.

Many believe that Maryland will choose to regulate sports gambling next year, though. It would help to generate millions of additional dollars for the state every single year.

There are many fantastic online casinos in MD operating right now. Most of these sites offer a massive range of different gambling options. Feel free to check them out today!

Stay tuned for more Maryland gambling news over the next few months!